The Circus of the Marvellously Menopausal Woman

A new poem of mine has been longlisted in Live Canon’s International Poetry Competition. Naturally, I’m sad that it didn’t make it to the shortlist and so won’t be performed by the amazing Live Canon Ensemble at the Prizewinners’ Show (which is always a gorgeous afternoon of poetry and camaraderie and really worth attending – tickets are free) but I’m pleased it’s been given a small nod of approval by Helen Eastman and Live Canon. Thank you to them.

This poem has been brewing in my poetry brain for the last few years, ever since I began to notice a shift in other people’s attitudes towards me as I’ve become visibly older. Anecdotal evidence from friends, and articles about society’s perception of older women by the journalist Suzanne Moore – such as this piece – were also an influence.

So here is my poem, dedicated to my brilliant friend J.W. and to any older woman who’s ever been overlooked in a shop or any other situation. I see you. I’m one of you!

The Circus of the Marvellously Menopausal Woman

Roll up! Roll up!
By particular wishing
And for your delectable entertainment
The Circus of the Marvellously Menopausal Woman
Is in town.

Before your very eyes
You will not see her
Playing the object of desire
In a mainstream movie.

Gasp in amazement
At the wondrous curiosity
Of her living out her life
unnoticed.

There she isn’t!!
In line for promotion;
On advertising hoardings;
Anchoring a Talk Show.

Drum roll, please!
She is not leading her organisation!
She is not at the zenith of her career!

Abracadabra!
It’s thrilling! It’s astonishing!
Respect, power and legitimacy have vanished
In a magical menstrual explosion!

Not to be equalled in the entire world
In the Tent of Living Human Curiosities
Watch as she is overlooked
While waiting to be served in a shop.

Thank you Ladies of Reproductive Age
and Gentlemen
The Company will now pass round the hat.

Ignore the lady
with the silver-edged hair.

Alakazam!
She isn’t there!

9 thoughts on “The Circus of the Marvellously Menopausal Woman

  1. Ali Thurm says:

    Ah this rings true with me, Josephine. A very clever way of describing the feeling of being overlooked … although I’m also enjoying that sense of putting on a cloak of invisibility and not caring what people think any more… Refreshing!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. janetmcclean says:

    I want you to know that inside my mind’s eye, deep inside my post-menopausal costume is a woman with shiny brown hair, clear eyes without dark rings or bags, a clear skin, a strong energetic mind and less bulky body. Sometimes I can even channel her – the problem is the rest of the world don’t see it – plus the fact that mirrors which are villainous liars and the originators of fake news!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ann says:

    I love this poem! It is so true. Yes, overlooked, invisible and sometimes talked to as if we’re in our first decade not sixth! Still, once you adjust, crossing the line does have a few benefits. Thanks for drawing attention to this situation with a delightful poem.

    Liked by 1 person

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